Hugh Jesse Arnelle
FUNERAL HOME
San Francisco Columbarium & Funeral Home
One Loraine Court
San Francisco, CA
Hugh Jesse Arnelle
December 30th 1933 - October 21st 2020
Hugh Jesse Arnelle (December 30th, 1933 - October 21, 2020). Jesse died in San Francisco, CA at the age of 86 due to heart disease. Born in New Rochelle, New York, to Hugh Walker and Lynne Chevannes Arnelle, Jess was preceded in death by parents and his 2 older brothers, Hugh Commodore and Juneau David Arnelle. Jess was a graduate of New Rochelle High School and graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 1955.

Jesse Arnelle excelled in football and basketball at Penn State University where he led the basketball team to the 1954 NCAA Final Four and was also named both All-American and East Regional Most Valuable Player that season. Jess finished his Penn State basketball career as the program's all-time leading scorer and rebounder (2,138 points and 1,238 rebounds). Drafted in 1955 by both the NFL (the Los Angeles Rams) and the NBA, he chose to play in the NBA with the Fort Wayne Pistons where he played in 31 games.

After professional basketball, Jess served as an officer in the United States Air Force, earned an LLB from Dickinson School of Law and, later, was a Peace Corps Director in Turkey (2 years) and India (1 year). In 1968 he moved to San Francisco. Once licensed to practice law, he sharpened his litigation skills at the San Francisco Federal Public Defenders Office and later entered solo practice in criminal and civil law. In 1987, he teamed with William Hastie to form the law firm of Arnelle & Hastie (later Arnelle, Hastie, McGhee, Willis and Green), which focused on corporate defense litigation. He served as senior partner until his retirement from formal law practice in 1998.

Jess' involvement in the corporate world and his 45 years on the Penn State Board of Trustees experience led to his interest in participating on corporate boards. In addition to his service on the board of directors of URS Corp and Wells Fargo Bank, Jess was an active member on the boards of Waste Management, the Metropolitan Life Series Fund, Textron Corporation, Eastman Chemical Company, Gannett Company, Armstrong World Industries, and Florida Power & Light.

Jesse was elected Penn State's first black student body president in 1954. In 1969 he was elected to the University's Board of Trustees, served as President of the PSU Board of Trustees in 1994-96 and in over 45 years as a Trustee he served the university in many roles, including the President's club, a co-founder of the Penn State Renaissance Fund (to increase and support minority students at Penn State), the Campaign Steering Committee and Penn State's National Development Council. He received the Lion's Paw award, given to distinguished alumni.

Locally, Jess has been active in the Charles Houston Bar Association and he has served as president of the San Francisco African American Historical Society. Jess enjoyed learning languages (Spanish, Turkish, French, Italian, German), world travel, monitoring local, national and international political and world events, and symphonic, dance and jazz music. He was also an avid fly fisherman, camper, and walker. He proudly completed the 300 mile Camino De Compostela six times.

Jess is survived by his wife Carolyn Block-Arnelle, daughter Isis Bastet Arnelle, and son Michael Arnelle. Jess is also survived by his niece, Darrilynne Arnelle-Mazyck (Bernard) and nephew, Derrick Arnelle, and a grandnephew, Nicholas Mazyck.

A San Francisco Viewing will be held Friday, October 30th, from 1pm - 4pm at San Francisco Columbarium & Funeral Home, 1 Loraine Ct, San Francisco, CA 94118. Due to Covid 19 concerns and S.F. City and County regulations, groups of 20 people will be allowed to view and pay their respects during one of the multiple 20 minute time windows. Please contact family to set a viewing time.

A more traditional Memorial service to celebrate his life will be held when Covid 19 subsides and larger events are safe again.

Published by San Francisco Chronicle from Oct. 24 to Oct. 27, 2020.
To plant trees in memory, please visit the Sympathy Store.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
Oct
30
Viewing
1:00p.m. - 4:00p.m.
San Francisco Columbarium & Funeral Home
One Loraine Court, San Francisco, CA
Funeral services provided by:
San Francisco Columbarium & Funeral Home
MAKE A DONATION
MEMORIES & CONDOLENCES
Sponsored by San Francisco Columbarium & Funeral Home.
Add a Message


Not sure what to say?



25 Entries
I was saddened to see that Jesse passed away. I remember him well from our days at New Rochelle High school. He was two years ahead of me but we knew each other. I was on the JV football team- Jesse missed a pass at practice and I still remember him saying to us "You don't want the coach to think I'm infallible, do you?" So modest. I knew he was destined for great things. He did not disappoint. My heart goes out to his family at this time of loss.
I also remember seeing Jesse's father at every game in his auxiliary police uniform. So proud of his son.

David Abrams NRHS Class of 1953
David Abrams
Acquaintance
November 24, 2020
In 2016 when he was at Penn State we sat in an upstairs parlor of the Nittany Lion Inn an talked about our paths to Penn State. I knew something about his path but he didn't know much about mine, since I was just a "speed bump" in the history of "Dear Old State". In our discussion, which lasted over an hour, I was most impressed by his openness and his warmth. His story of his service and being offered an exemption from a height requirement which would have made him ineligible to fly in the air force because he was too tall, was intriguing. His decision to pass on the offer of flight, which he dreamed of, made his service to the university and thousands of Penn Staters a gift of enormous value.

Rest in peace Jesse. It was a pleasure talking to you.
James W. Devore, PSU Life time Alum, 1965
Acquaintance
November 17, 2020
Good remembrances from our time at St. Francis Episcopal church in San Francisco. My sons Ashley and Tyler were teens/preteens with his son Michael.
Marie Jones-Smith
Friend
November 8, 2020
One of the warmest human beings I have ever encountered. Rest in Peace Jess.
Kenneth Kornfield
Neighbor
November 5, 2020
We were classmates at New Rochelle High School and good buddies. He used to call me "Frank Buck!" I have such fond memories of kidding around together.
Barbara Frank Okun (Bobbi)
Friend
November 4, 2020
Paula Collins
October 30, 2020
Jess was just a beautiful human being and a close friend for 72 years, starting as teammates at New Rochelle High School.
Jerry Utter
October 28, 2020
a loved one
October 28, 2020
a loved one
October 28, 2020
Fortunately, Jesse and I were introduced when I was a young football coach in the football offices by Joe Paterno. The first time we talked it was evident that he was a very earnest person that one would like to talk to again in the future. He had just joined the Board of Trustees in that era. We were not able to talk much in the future, but he would acknowledge our connection with a chance encounter at a rare board meeting that I was able to attend. Joe would talk highly of him in the ensuing staff meetings in the decades ahead. I knew that he was a "Lion" by hearing stories about him for years. We Are - will miss him. Thanks for your efforts. They counted.
Booker T Brooks
Acquaintance
October 27, 2020
My wife and I had the honor and pleasure of being at New Rochelle High School when Jesse was there. As Jesse once said to us- this time (the 50's) in New Rochelle was magical for all. He was a leader and an inspiration to all of us. - Bob and Sandra Aldrich
ROBERT H ALDRICH
Classmate
October 27, 2020
Robin Lee
October 27, 2020
Cameron Phleger
October 27, 2020
I first learned of Jesse because Mr Arnelle was the school crossing guard at Daniel Webster elementary school where I went.$$
Jesse was an amazing, exceptional man. A legend in Westchester County. I was fortunate to see him in person when he came to NRHS and gave an inspirational talk to students. Once I saw him play pro bb
Where he came in off the bench, quickly scored 2 baskets and was immediately put back on the bench.
Leaving me thinking the coach was not being fare to Jesse. When my family moved to S Ca I looked him up and learned how much he “scored” in his lifetime. He made his mark! My sincere condolences to his family.
Steve Patchen (NRHS 1957)
Stephen Patchen
Acquaintance
October 26, 2020
You are in my thoughts and prayers,Carolyn.Keep the faith .
Geraldine Levy
October 26, 2020
Jess was a beautiful and gentle human being from start to finish. A friendship for life started as teammates at New Rochelle High School
Jerry Utter
Friend
October 26, 2020
It was a shock to learn of the passing of my friend and basketball teammate Jesse. He was one of Penn State‘s greatest football and basketball players and even a better person. I was captain of the basketball team his sophomore year and roomed with him on many trips. Our sincere condolences to the family.
Herm Sledzik
Classmate
October 26, 2020
My deepest condolences. Hugh was a great man and a dear friend.
Joel Myers
Friend
October 26, 2020
Proud to have been an NRHS ‘51 classmate. Rest In Peace, Jesse.
Bud/George Ahrens
George Ahrens
Classmate
October 25, 2020
George Hirsch
October 25, 2020
My Hero has fallen. Rest in peace.
Paul Sherman
Friend
October 25, 2020
He was an old and cherished friend...we go way back to New Rochelle High School and have maintained the friendship for all those years...a very special guy.
Arthur Librett
Friend
October 25, 2020
I knew Jesse years ago when I worked in federal court. We ran into each other from time to time afterwards and it was always such a pleasure to see him. The final time I saw him was at the Black & White Ball. What a gracious, friendly honorable man he was. I know he will be greatly missed by all of you...I know I would love to run into him one more time. Samm McGregor
Samm McGregor
Acquaintance
October 25, 2020
I am saddened to hear this, and I will miss him. Jess was a gentleman to the fullest.
Peter Cella
Friend
October 25, 2020
A wonderful, sweet, dear friend....I will miss you so much.
MERVYN F SILVERMAN
Friend
October 24, 2020
Showing 1 - 25 of 25 results